Do dogs cry? Study Says Dog Tears Facilitate Canine-Human Bonding
When humans are reunited with their pets, owners can shed more than a few tears. But do dogs do the same? So far, most evidence has indicated that while they exhibit empathic responses to humans in need of reassurance, dogs don’t cry. But a new Japanese study, published in the journal Current biology, suggests that our canine companions may also be waking up when reunited with their owners.
It’s no secret that dogs have strong emotional bonds with their owners, showing social intelligence and display human emotions. When pets are reunited with owners from whom they have been separated for some time, they display “affiliative behavior.” These are actions that another organism finds satisfying or like pleasant behavior that helps to create a social bond between two parties.
In the case of dogs reunited with their owners, the puppies exhibited affiliative behavior such as licking human faces, jumping on their owners, and wagging their tails. During these times they experience the release of oxytocinthe so-called “love hormone”, as other studies have shown.
Determine if dogs shed tears
In this study, scientists proposed that dogs shed tears at owner meetings due to oxytocin; in response, the owners would like to comforte animals in turn. The researchers first asked people at assess how badly they wanted to take care of a dog based on photos where dogs Featured had no tears or artificial tears. Ppeople rated the phototures of dogs. Those with artificial tears class superior to those without artificial tears, meaning that people wanted to take care of dogs with tears in their eyes. In real life, such a reaction could strengthen an existing human-canine bond.
From there, the researchers selected 18 dogs with no separation anxiety or health issues, those that had owners with good handling experience. Scientists measured the daily tear production of these dogs. They captured the volume of dog tears when the dogs were home or spending time with their owners versus when they were reunited with their owners after being home alone for five to seven hours. Dogs have been found to cry significantly more when reunited with their owners after a more time apart than when they were at home with their masters.
However, it is important to note that no mention was made of dog breeds and the impact this might have had on the study. For example, Shih Tzus have more prominent eyeballs, which could skew the results. While some female dogs were neutered, all of the male dogs involved in the study were neutered, notes Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM and AKC chief veterinarian. While both male and female mammals secrete oxytocin in stressful situations, females produce more than males, which could also have biased results.
A similar test was carried out with 20 dogs in a daycare. Tears were also measured after owners left, as well as when owners returned. The dogs were separated and then reunited with a familiar figure and with their owners; results showed dogs shed more tears when reunited with owners than familiar non-owners. Additionally, some dogs were dropped off at daycare and then their tear secretion was measured after receiving either a control substance or oxytocin. Dogs that received oxytocin secreted more tears than those that received the control substance.
Do dogs cry with emotion?
Dogs who cry for emotional reasons can be be more in our minds than not. “Besides the hormone oxytocin, one of the likely reasons why humans respond to dog tears is the behavioral principle of generalization,” says Dr. Mary Burch, Ph.D., Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and AKC DirectorFamily dog program. “WWe tend to associate tears with the crying of someone (a person or animal) who is hurting, sad, or in an emotional state where they need our attention and support. We know how we feel when we cry, and we connect emotionally and sympathetically with crying dogs.”
It is clearly possible that dogs exhibit tears to elicit caring behaviors from humans. Contact is clearly very important in building relationships for dogs and humans. As dogs and humans grew side by side, perhaps they actually began to emit tears to ensure they would be taken care of. at further away the human-canine bond. Or at least we can hope that we will miss our dogs as much when we are gone.